Two Poems from “Dreams” by Rupert Wondolowksi

by | Jun 4, 2023 | Features

Tears Are Time Travel

I didn’t feel well. 

Granny let me stay 

home from school. 

45 years passed.

Father died.

Like a champ.

Didn’t even dip into 

the painkillers the 

hospice left in plenty.

The night before he went

I asked him how he was doing.

He said “Okay, I just have to beat this.”

The day he died 

bulldozers started tearing

at the woods behind our house. 

A long feared and protested event

happening now like a staged 

scene in a John Sayles movie.

Mother died.

Not so good.

Howls of the soul so 

twisted and agonized that

a lifetime of horror movies,

Catholic school

and Flannery O’Connor 

could not prepare me for.

I hunted mushrooms 

in my backyard woods

wearing soggy Batman slippers 

with my granny.

I’m still there.

I’m pretty much here.


Seeing Beckett in February with Megan

There was little air in the air 

that day,

it being a February Sunday.

Dead leafless trees

a warehouse for crosses

were king, jutting gravemarkers in 

the static cold dampness.

It was a day made for a hospital visit, 

for putting on an old sweater

and finding a nest of unraveling.

Megan, who has raven black hair,

at that time could go a day without speech 

except for the heavy metal amped

through her eyes.

She was wearing her sky dust 

robin’s egg

detective raincoat and 

Krapp’s LastTapes 

was being performed

in the university’s converted barn.

We swam through the gray day 

to see John Astin, the original 

Gomez of The Addams Family

a show that informed my childhood 

of anarchy and true love—as Krapp.

It was said to be his last performance 

that he was leaving the university.

That information slid into the gray sack.

I wondered what would become of 

the parallel library he had built here 

to match the one he had in California.

Each of his book purchases so gleeful. 

He would lift the Albee play and draw

out its name like Krapp elongating “sspppoooollll.”

I spot an older poet friend who I 

met as a customer in my bookshop.

Often Amanda and I watched

his old car struggle its way to our door 

and we’d cheer it on.

His son at one point

played violin on the street corner 

near where I bought coffee

& I looked forward to

his keening notes & wave, 

his long thin hair a sun flag. 

The old poet’s ahead in line 

With his entire family, 

they’re having a Beckett 

Sunday outing, maybe to be 

followed by a meal of silent

bananas in the nearby graveyard.

May the slippery skins

trip up hissing persistent phantoms, 

ever at our heels.

I will be the hovering gooseberry 

recently rolled off a pantseat oiled pew. 

They were the only light of the moment 

barn lights lowered for

Krapp’s emergence.

I wave, they wave, we move our 

mouths without words.

There is a communion of language 

inside the barn, a hush

for an emissary of life’s tender agony

to reflect on everything on this muckball—

all the light and dark and famine—

feast if you got it—

better than a kick in the crutch. 

“Are you still up for daisies tonight,” 

Megan asked

while under us all moved

and moved us gently

up and down, side to side. 

Stop 

and listen 

to the bells.


About Rupert Wondolowski

Rupert Wondolowski is also the author of Mattress In an Alley, Raft Upon the Sea (Fell Swoop), The Origin of Paranoia as a Heated Mole Suit (Publishing Genius) and The Whispering of Ice Cubes (Shattered Wig Press). He performs in The Mole Suit Choir and Wondofeather and lives in the fabled land of Baltimore.